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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 18, 2013 at 2:50 PM

T-Mobile confirms LTE launch this month

T-Mobile confirmed today that it will begin providing 4G LTE service by the end of this month, concurrent with the launch of the BlackBerry Z10.

The company is known for splashy marketing campaigns and its LTE upgrade is a massive project, representing an investment of more than $4 billion. Yet it’s opting to trickle out news about its LTE launch in dribs and drabs, perhaps because it just laid off a significant portion of its marketing department.

In a short statement from its PR firm today, the Bellevue-based carrier said its LTE rollout “is moving at breakneck speed” and will be ready in time for the Z10 launch “by the end of this month.”:

“We’re on track to have 100 million Americans covered by LTE mid-year and 200 million people with LTE by the end of 2013. This is in addition to the blazing fast 4G experience we give customers right now covering 220 million people.”

T-Mobile provided the update on its LTE plans after announcing today that it’s going to start upgrading Samsung Galaxy Note II devices on its network to work with its LTE service where available. The update will be sent over the air.

Still undisclosed is which markets will be receiving T-Mobile LTE service first. In January I was told by Chief Executive John Legere that Las Vegas is among the first markets and is ready to go live.

The company said it will announce later when other LTE devices can start operating on its network. T-Mobile also plans to sell LTE versions of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S IV phones.

In the meantime other carriers are gearing up to launch the Z10, the first of the completely redesigned BlackBerry smartphones. AT&T will begin selling its LTE version of the device for $200 — with a contract — on Friday.

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